How to keep your emotions under control when everything else seems to be falling apart

This is a critical turning point in time for Thais to concentrate and be aware of their feelings so they can analyse the events that have occurred and are about to happen. Thai citizens should look to the long term instead of the short term in lieu of the political conflict.

All of us are in the midst of change and when change occurs there is bound to be conflict. Every time conflict occurs emotions run high and damage is bound to happen. But if we stay calm and use reason then the damage can be limited.

In a democracy each individual is entitled to his or her viewpoints. Not everyone will believe in the same ideals. What is important is that everyone must learn to live together in harmony with those who are different and who think differently

Children carry a banner urging an end to
divisions resulting from the political conflict.

If these differences are used in a creative manner then they can lead to constructive development. This will allow people to see the problems clearly and in greater detail.

           People will see the good and the bad sides; they'll see alternative solutions and remedies to the dilemma at hand.

           But if we choose to look at these differences in a way that is not creative then the only path it will lead to is disunity, foul moods, quarrels, confrontations, destruction and everybody ending up losing in the end.

           The following are seven guidelines that can reduce stress factors leading to anger during Thailand's period of political conflict which is brewing to chaotic levels:

         1. Always think of politics as a venue where there will always be different ideologies. But it isn't necessary to go and create disunity.  There will always be a solution to every problem.

         2. Follow the political situation to keep tabs on current events so that you understand what is going on and can be prepared.Don't think too much and keep things to yourself by becoming overly emotional.

         3. Remind yourself that people will always be different. No one is perfect. Even you have imperfections. Only then will you understand life on Earth, be less tempted to become angry and be more forgiving.

         4. Remind yourself that anger and stress will only "burn you out" and destroy your health. Try to observe your emotions and be aware when you are about to become stressed or angry. Protesters are at especially high risk of becoming angry easily.

         5. Practise controlling your angry emotions and relieving stress levels by shifting focus and counting from one to 10 and taking deep breaths.  Breath in and breath out slowly. Try to relax the muscle groups all over your body.

          6. Avoid emotionally-charged situations that will incite anger because if you insist on remaining in such situations then your anger level couldreach its limit and stress problems will follow.

          7. Practise the art of forgiving and letting go.

          The political situation is bound to consist of differences in ideas and beliefs. But you must believe that there will be a solution.

           What you should know is that stress can lead to anger and violence. Everyone must concentrate and be aware of the present, so try to avoid anger.

           Meanwhile you should also pay attention to those around you, especially children.

           Children will be exposed to news and pictures of violence on a repeated basis. Both sights and sounds via the news will affect the mental health of viewers for sure. Every party concerned should be careful about this issue.

           May everyone have the presence of mind to be attentive to one another so that Thai society will triumph over this ongoing crisis that's casting a dark shadow over all of us; the damage should be limited as much as possible so that our children will inherit a good society in the future.


BangkokPost, myfamily March 18-24, 2010  
By Dr Kraisit Naruekhatpichai  is a psychiatrist at Manarom Hospital